Have a look at this story guys and tell me wether you think that this family really has a case?. Stuff.co.nz
Now it seems that if you don't pay your power bill, don't worry, Nanny State will be there to fight for you. Sure this lady did die, but exactly what do you have to do these days to ensure that if you disconnect a non-paying customer, your customer doesn't need that supply?. Saturday morning here is my disconnection time, where I go around and disconnect all the places listed on my sheet from various electricity companies. At one stage I was disconnecting 38 houses in a morning. Not an easy task, considering that people will take any means necessary to prevent you from accessing their property. I have keys to a lot of properties here, but most people won't even let you onto their land or have a big dog that will make you think twice. I'd like to hear from RODALCO about this incident as he is a lot closer to it. Sure the loss of an oxygen pump is one thing, non-payment of a bill is another. I would stand by the contractor in this instance. No-one likes paying for something they've already used (as in electricity), but it IS an essential service. I would like to ask why there were no markings (or a tag on the pole/pillar box fuse) to say that that supply fed an essential supply?. Our PoCo here uses them for dialysis patients, we will make sure that during any situation, they get the power back on first and make doubly sure that continuous supply is available. If the fuse here is Red Tagged, you never pull it. Your thoughts guys?.
We used to have some form of id or tag on powerpoles and pillars in the old WEPB days, for people dependant upon electricity for medical purposes. Our old WEPB controlroom had addresses of patients on certain feeders, and they could be contacted in case of a feeder fault or maintenance shutdowns. Now these days with everything deregulated and lots of poles and pillars upgraded that info is lost. Because of the customer privacy act the hospitals are not allowed to give critical info to the POCO which makes it even more complicated. All evidence hasn't come out yet but i think the EMS Vircom contractor who pulled the fuse and was aware of the patient inside should have called his supervisor and let him make the decision. The family concerned should have contacted 111 and get an ambulance or get the neighbours to so. Also where was the back up oxygen bottle ? Awaiting the police findings we wait and see what happens in the next couple of days.
Last edited by Trumpy; 06/01/0705:48 PM. Reason: Correction of title
Mike, it is actually MERCURY ENERGY who is in the fix mode. These are part of the Mighty River Power scheme of the Waikato river. They supply the greater Auckland area and Wellington. Not sure if they retail in the South Island.
( OT! this is post 691 which is our Titirangi 691 appliance number )
Last edited by Trumpy; 06/01/0705:54 PM. Reason: Correction of title
Ray thanks a LOT mate!. All I can say over this whole thing is: Thanks a heap Mr Bradford, look where this has got us. There seems to be a LOT of nastiness around the internet this morning on NZ sites regarding the actions of Mercury Energy and in particular thier contractor that performed the actual disconnection. This is wrong. Mercury Energy is there to supply electricity, that has to be paid for, the contractor is there to operate the electricity system in a safe and economical way. Let me say this, I lived in a place when I was in Timaru, that had it's power shut off, because one of the guys (flatting situation) that was supposed to pay the power account, with-held the money for his own use. When the faultsman turned up at the door one Friday afternoon, it came as a real sort of surprise, I can tell you!. But seriously, power disconnection is a last resort after months of non-payment, there are usually 2 warning letters, at least 2 phone calls from your power company and then a final notice, is served, telling you WHEN the power will be disconnected, (usually within 2 days of the final warning). So, it's not like the family in this case wouldn't have known the power was going to be cut off. Finally, I would like to ask this question: Why is a person that is dependant on oxygen to survive, not in hospital?.
Last edited by Trumpy; 06/01/0706:07 PM. Reason: To add last bit
Just because someone is on oxygen doesn't mean that they are going to die soon--they could have years left to live. Had to provide an oxygen tank the other day for a kid who's had to use a filtration system for a couple of years. Putting all of those people in a hospital would not only be economically unfeasible, it would be pretty degrading and depressing for them.
However, I think it is safe to say that someone dependant on such a system should understand that they are at a much higher risk of death than people who aren't. Because, without technology, they likely wouldn't be alive.
Sorry guys, my question asking wether the person should have been in hospital was probably a bit out of line. But, I will say this though, did the family in question have some sort of a contingency PLAN, in case there was a fault on the Network supplying thier house?. The electricity systems here have a real habit of failing (just look at my time-sheet for the last 2 weeks), now we have a certain length of time in which to get given circuits operational again, this figure is getting lower and lower all the time, but hey, we aren't perfect and things like the weather and traffic conditions do upset the formula. The reason I mentioned hospital care was because, if there is a Network failure, hospitals are required to have a No-Break Electricity supply. Ray, I couldn't agree with you more in respect to your comments about record-keeping and the Privacy Act here, it's sending us backwards. The same people that tell us they are in compliance with a "Quality" system are all full of it, if things like this occur, what does this say about the quality systems that are in place. I say can the lot and start doing things the way we used to, without all the BS and complications. Rant Over.
Mike, I don't think your question was out of line at all!
First, for some background: My next-door neighbor is a quadriplegic. He also relies upon a nebulizer, or oxygen bottles, to supplement his breathing. It's no to say he needs electrical service to live; during sundry power failures, we have either fired up a portable generator, or had an ambulance transfer him to a care facility.
Contrast this to the many instances where the slightest calamity has produced folks who were amazingly well prepared, in a different way, for the disaster. Right away, they call the media, they have receipts, they have all sorts of 'documentation' that attests that the losses were the fault of someone else, that someone should pay. Amazingly enough, there always is some person involved who evokes sympathy: a child, the elderly, the handicapped, the 'war widow.' Hand-in-hand, there always seems to be some special interest group stage-managing the show ... be it a 'civil rights' group, and 'advocacy' group, whatever.
It's all a sham. Some folks are happy to use professional victims as stepping stones to their own political power- and the media is quite happy to stir thing up.
I don't wish hardship upon anyone - but it's not MY job to carry their load. Power companies are not magically 'just there.' They need someone to pay their bills.
My phone bill would literally be half what it currently is, were it not for the extra charges to provide service to the needy. My PoCo bill is likewise inflated 50% to subsidize others. My payroll taxes would easily be less than a third of what they are ... were it not for sundry 'entitlement' programs.
I spend my days, going from service call to service call. Many times, I am hired by the owner of a rental property - a property whose occupants are not working. It sometimes feels as if I am the only one who has to go to work in the morning!
I'm simply tired of carrying everyone else's load, in addition to my own. If the folks in that story were my neighbors, I'd be happy to lend them my shovel ... IF they put down a deposit. I'm that jaded. (Who am I kidding? They'll be buried at my expense anyway!)